And then I made pho...

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Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, May 24, 2013

So I've been really slack this time with writing my blog; and the more I put it off the less I think I’ve remembered… Here goes!

We arrived back home from Miami late on Sunday night and poor Matt had to get up early the next morning to head back to Detroit. On Thursday afternoon I headed over to Suzy and Leigh’s for afternoon tea for Suzy’s birthday. Hayley was there too and it was cool to see the inside of another Brooklyn apartment building. On Saturday we took Lulu for a walk to check out the Prospect Park Fair but there’s wasn’t too much happening and the weather had turned freezing again. Matt recovered from a long week by dozing on the couch and I had a lazy afternoon reading in bed before heading to Amy’s for a few drinks that night.

On Sunday afternoon, 21 April, Suzy and I went to the Brooklyn Folk Festival. We were really lucky and got one of the few tables with stools. Everyone else had to stand and as no-one was really dancing it was better to sit and watch. Lots of bluegrass, banjos and someone even playing a jug! Here’s the line-up:

2pm: The Whistling Wolves – Folk, old time, jug band and novelty songs!

2:45pm Andy Statman – Amazing Bluegrass and Klezmer music! 2012 NEA National Heritage Award winner.

3:30pm Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Jug band music, traditional, original.

4:15pm Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton – Blues guitar, stride piano, old time banjo and fiddle.

5pm The Whiskey Spitters – Blues, jug band, old time and novelty songs.

5:45pm Elijah Wald – Folk singer, all the way from Boston. Not to be missed!

6:30pm Feral Foster – Original songs and occasional blues with harmonica.

Check out some of the videos I uploaded! It was really fun – most of the music I wouldn’t buy, but it was great seeing the bands perform live.

On Friday I went to the second meet-up of an art group. There weren’t many of us but it was interesting listening to two artists talk about their experiences. Learnt to avoid falling prey to a “Vanity Gallery” – a gallery that will approach you but then you have to pay to exhibit and still pay 50% commission if you sell anything. Also a show that you don’t want to have on your resume…

The following weekend the weather was lovely and sunny. On Saturday morning we headed into Manhattan and had brunch at our old favourite – The Hummus Place.  We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Chelsea and had our first look at the Highline Park – an old rail track above street level that’s been converted into a really cool park. There’s food and art vendors scattered along the way along with great sculptures, beautiful plants and great views of Manhattan. We also swung past Magnolia Bakery (very busy) and saw a wedding in a small park. (Had some personal significance but not really a “wedding” kind of park).

On Sunday we headed to Dumbo in Brooklyn to check out Smorgasburg. There are two different locations with one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Matt and I were dumbstruck when we walked in and immediately started salivating. Vendor after vendor (75+) selling every kind of food you can imagine – burgers, Thai omelettes, buttermilk fried chicken wings, ice cream sandwiches, shaved ice, pickled veggies, coffee, beer, chocolate, biscuits, grilled cheese, cupcakes, donuts,  food from all over the world and more. We took turns choosing things and sharing them to try as many things as possible but will definitely have to go a few more times! Sunday afternoon I took my little granny trolley bag all the way to Chinatown to buy ingredients for Thai-style chicken sausage rolls I was making and also for PHO! Yes, we have given up the hunt for good pho and I’ll try and make some instead…

The following week I printed one day and painted for the rest. We had a few friends come over on Saturday night – the weather’s still not quite playing along and it was a bit chilly outside. On Sunday we went and bought Matt some new work shoes and had a pretty lazy day for the rest of it.

On Wednesday, 8 May, Suzy and I went to a talk as part of the “Australian Women in New York” program at the Australian Consulate. The talk itself was OK but it was nice to get out and meet a few other people. Afterwards Suzy and I had a coffee at Grand Central whilst waiting for the rain to stop – it was absolutely pouring! Luckily it stopped when I went to pick up my prints from the studio and bought  some supplies from the art shop.

I had a few flood warning messages sent to my phone that morning and had to run around to strategically place buckets and bowls under the leaks in our room. I couldn’t do much about the water running down our back steps and seeping in under the door though… A few days later a water bubble formed under the paint. Marc (our landlord) came and punctured it and a guy came to fix the ceiling a few days later. I got home a bit later only to find a massive puddle of pink water! The initial leaks were as a result of blocked gutters on their patio but there ended up being a leak from the sink in the bathroom above our room too. (Pink water from paintbrush being washed.) So part of our ceiling had to be removed, pipes fixed, new ceiling in, patched up and now just waiting for it to be painted.

On Friday I made my first batch of pho – a surprise for Matt who was coming home that night. It was actually pretty easy and the most time consuming part was scooping the fat off the top! We ended up with enough pho for eight large bowls. We both agreed it was the best pho we’ve had in NY… The broth was really good – we’re just struggling to find the same condiments here. We’ve found a pretty close second for the chilli oil but haven’t found a good sriracha sauce. We’ve only got two bowls left so I’ll have to make more soon…

Since Matt was away during the week we headed to Ippadu on Saturday for lunch to celebrate our three year anniversary. It’s a ramen noodle place that’s supposed to be very good but we preferred Momofuku and Tabata. That afternoon we went and saw The Great Gatsby in 3D. We really enjoyed it and since neither of us have read the book or seen the original film we didn’t have anything to compare it to which I think was a good thing. We were planning on going out for dinner but got some take-away instead as we were too tired! Getting old!

On Thursday afternoon I went to a meeting hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce for people in manufacturing and industry in small business. I only came across the information the night before but was really glad I went. They had a panel of five people who offered advice and shared their experiences. It was really interesting and I’ve got a few good ideas to follow up. After the meeting I met Suzy near Brooklyn Bridge Park for the second of three free concerts that were being put on by Celebrate Brooklyn. They were showcasing Afro Cuban Dance. We grabbed some Mexican from a food truck and sat down on the grass with hundreds of other people. There was a great vibe and when we decided to walk along the boardwalk a bit later a fireworks show started somewhere nearby too! Matt only arrived home that night so unfortunately missed out.

On Friday night Matt and I headed to Suzy and Leigh’s for dinner. Leigh graduated from Columbia this week and they’re waiting to hear back about a job offer otherwise they’ll be heading back to Perth soon. L After a yummy dinner we decided to go and see what was happening at a film set around the corner. When we got there we could see Vince Vaughn and Colby Smulders acting out a scene. It was interesting seeing all the different camera angles on the screens, set set-up, lighting and crew. We went and had a drink at a local bar with a bocce court. We decided to swing past the set again on the way back. They were still filming the same scene so we decided to head off. We walked past the crew catering tent and Matt and Leigh pretended to be crew and ducked in to sample a few snacks… The courage you get after a few drinks!

On Saturday night we headed out to the East Village for Marina’s surprise birthday. We started with drinks at Zum Schneider before heading to Esperanto for dinner. About eighteen of us squeezed around one table - a bit of a tight fit but a good way to meet some new Aussies and Americans. Unfortunately Matt had to head to Detroit on Sunday afternoon so we tried “Farm” around the corner for brunch but didn’t have time to get up to much after that.

I printed again this week and painted some of the dried prints. On Thursday I FINALLY got my “Permit to accept work” in the mail!!! Five months after applying… Now I just need to apply for a social security number, register my business and apply for a permit to sell. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long… On Friday night we went out for dinner with Matt’s friend Jack from BCG Melbourne who’s in town for a wedding.

It’s a long weekend this weekend but the weather is horrible – rainy and cold. Hopefully it improves a bit so we can go and explore! This morning we went to the Saturday market at Prospect Park to stock up on our weekly fresh bread, cheese, milk and yogurt. It’s even better now as there are more stalls – fresh veggies and fruit, meat, fish, baked goods and other yummy stuff. Lots locally made so nice and fresh! Tonight we’re going out for Turkish with three other couples. Should be a fun night J

I uploaded a few pics of our apartment though it's much more nicer in real life - you'll just have to come and visit and see for yourselves!
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